US Law Banning Imports From China’s Xinjiang Takes Effect After Biden’s Approval In 2021

The United States of America has enforced new regulations that ban the imports of products from China’s Xinjiang region from Tuesday, June 21. According to the new rules, for exporting the goods to the United States, firms need to show that the products have not been manufactured using forced labour. Notably, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) was signed by US President Joe Biden back in December last year into legislation that is set to take effect from Tuesday.

Imports of several products from Xinjiang, including cotton and tomatoes, have already been prohibited in the United States. The restrictions will now extend to all imports under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). US officials have claimed that members of the minority Uyghur community in the region have been detained and made to work, BBC News reported.

The US Congress has said that China has detained over one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang since April 2017. As per the BBC News report, the US Congress thinks that thousands of detainees worked “without any compensation” or at a “fraction of minimum wage” in Xinjiang. China has repeatedly refuted the allegations of holding Uyghurs in detention camps in Xinjiang.

Earlier on 17th June, US Senators Marco Rubio, Jeff Merkley and US Representatives Jim McGovern and Chris Smith in a statement said that the US is sending a “clear message that we will no longer remain complicit in the Chinese Communist Party’s use of slave labour and egregious crimes against humanity.” 

They called it an “important day” in the fight to stand against “the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide and forced labour of Uyghurs and predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).”

China Foreign Ministry response to US ban on imports from Xinjiang 

Earlier on June 2, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that they have “rebuked US’ lies on forced labour many times.”

Speaking at a news conference, Lijian said that the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act interferes in internal matters of China and violates international law. He said that China expresses “firm opposition” against the law. Zhao Lijian called on the United States to not enforce the act and stop using issues related to Xinjiang for interfering in China’s internal matters.

In his remarks, he said, “We have rebuked US lies on forced labor in Xinjiang many times. The so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, in disregard of facts, maliciously smears the human rights conditions in China’s Xinjiang, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, gravely violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, and violates market rules and commercial ethics.” 

Image: AP

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